Big meat: The rise and impact of mega-farming in China’s beef, sheep and dairy industries

06 October 2017

China is one of the leading producers and consumers of meat and dairy in the world. Its meat and dairy industries have been expanding since the 1980s and are set to grow further. Growth is driven by market size, the involvement of global partners and the development of efficient mass production. The industry consists of two segments: small household farms and large modern farms. The large modern farms have grown due to the rapidly rising consumption of meat and dairy as part of the Chinese diet. The rise is especially evident in milk consumption. The meat industry is not promoted to consumers to the same degree and is more confined to local level governments in certain provinces. Despite this, the demand for meat has increased to the level where almost none of it is exported to other countries.

While meat and dairy consumption continues to grow rapidly, food safety concerns remain due to scandals that resulted in China’s market confidence collapsing. In response, the government pushed to consolidate megafarms, particularly in dairy, and produced a number of new food safety laws and regulations. It is unclear how the new food safety laws or future consumer demand will influence the industry’s long-term growth. Foreign businesses in this industry need to keep a close watch on both government and consumers in China’s meat and dairy markets.

Read the full article on the Asia-Pacific Journal website.

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